Cover Image: Wicked As You Wish

Wicked As You Wish

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Member Reviews

This book was an amazing experience. The characters were so diverse and the story was full of just magical fairytales!! I was amazed that I got to read this book and see what the author had in store for me. This book did not disappoint and I was enraptured in it by the first line. I felt like I was swept away by this beautiful retelling with all the characters like Tala and Cole. I will never regret reading this and again am so excited that I got to read this!!
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This fantasy is chock-full of fairy tale and legendary references in terms of history, locales, and powers, but it's also a dystopia, so naturally, the worst parts of our society remain, villainous ICE agents included. In the truly garbage Royal States of America, Tala has inherited her family's curse, making her a Spellbreaker who disrupts magic. Her best friend is the heir-in-hiding for the defeated and iced-over kingdom of Avalon. As his 18th birthday nears, it's time for Alex to take his homeland back.

There's a lot to love in this book, including funny chapter titles a la Rick Riordan. Of many favorites, "in which bad bureaucratic policies have consequences" is a true knockout, and another gem is "in which objects in mirrors are closer than they appear," and "in which the castle wants Tala to be its guest" earns a gold star. I could have literally picked any three random chapter titles, people. They're that entertaining. The pop-culture references are also sublime, from Star Wars to the TARDIS to the power of Grayskull. This provided extra tasty seasoning over a healthy diet of Wonderland, Camelot, and Neverland plot elements.

I also loved the ethnically diverse main cast with a Filipina protagonist at the helm. We are also graced with a gay King Arthur descendant and a non-binary Chinese-Canadian Loki among the main characters. The teenage leads form a promising group with hilarious quirks and a good mix of individual strengths and weaknesses that complement one another as a team.

There were some downsides for me. I felt buried in world-building at the start of this book, and other info dumps still arose later in the story. The front-loaded world-building made for a slow start to the plot and sporadic characterization. While I liked the cast, I don't feel I saw their full range. There was definitely that anticipatory "first book in a series" feeling to suggest that the real action is yet to come. The last part is a matter of personal taste. There's a lot of prophecy in the story from seers to visions to a personal "doom" spoken at birth, and these strands of fate were not always tricky to decipher. It rendered certain events predictable and paused the flow of the story.

For fans of fairy tale retellings, especially the epically chaotic variety that smooshes them all together for maximum effort, this book is for you. Definitely check it out if it sounds like your cup of ya fantasy tea.
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DRC provided by Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Representation: Filipino-Scottish protagonist, gay white Slavic secondary character, non-binary Chinese secondary character, Japanese-English secondary character, Filipino tertiary characters, deaf Filipino tertiary character, disabled Filipino tertiary character, white Scottish tertiary character, Black tertiary character.

Content Warning: racism, violence, slurs, homophobia, death, ICE, mentions of colonialism, mentions of slavery, mentions of genocide, mentions of abuse. 

Wicked as You Wish by Rin Chupeco is an intriguing fantasy, contemporary novel set in a world where magic is real and it affected and still influences how the world and its countries operate; about family, prophecies and the decisions one makes.

Tala is a Makiling, a spellbreaker. The curse, created by one of her maternal ancestors, makes her able to negate magic. She lives in Invierno, a city in the Royal States, where magic does not work. That is the reason the last remaining royal of Avalon, Alex, is sent there to hide from the authorities. They become fast-friends and time passes normally until one year later Alex’s arrival.

I was so excited when I got approved for Wicked as You Wish because I wanted to read a book by Rin Chupeco for so long, but I did not have any chance before. And I am happy to say I was right in being very excited because Rin crafted a really alluring magical world in which fairy tales and myths intertwine beautifully with the original lore of the story. The writing flowed so well that I did not even notice the page number and I really loved the stylistic choice to title every chapter starting with “in which”.

Another aspect of the book I really adored was the diversity in the cast. Tala, Cole and Lola Urduja (Lola is not the character’s name, but an honorific used in Filipino culture to address elders and it also means grandmother) were my favourites characters among everyone. As for the rest of Banders, they were all well fleshed-out characters with distinct personalities, but I felt like something was missing, probably because of all the secrets that will be revealed in the next book.

Wicked as You Wish is definitely worth the read and I cannot wait to read the sequel and the rest of Chupeco’s bibliography!
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Fairytales and curses meet reality in an electrifying way. Stories from all over come together in this magical version of the US, where Tala and her family must keep more than a few secrets. Like all great fantasy novels, it takes about a chapter or two to get your feet under you but then it just flies.
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In a world where magic is real and the kingdoms we know from fairy tales and stories actually exist, the Snow Queen attacked Avalon and froze it. Citizens that managed to escape are refugees in various countries all over the world. Tala Makiling is under the family curse as a spellbreaker and lives in Invierno, Arizona, which has a low magic aura. There, the Avalonian crown prince Alex lived in hiding for a time. When the firebird appears in town, the two are joined by a number of protectors. Prophecies and a possible traitor follow them, but if they can survive then they'll be the stuff of legends.

Originally published in 2020, this is the first book of a series and now there's a new cover for the reprint. Tala and her family are so very much like the Filipino families I grew up around, down to the food and the myriad aunties and uncles. Tala is blindsided by so many new bits of information in the first quarter of the novel but manages to keep going. Her curse neutralizes magic around her, while others have magic weapons and various other curses that carry down their bloodlines. Alex has the pressure of being the crown prince of a frozen kingdom that he must restore, which is daunting for a teenager to face.

Rin Chupeco has amazing worldbuilding in all of her novels, and this one is no different. The main characters are all teens, and there is a good amount of representation: Alex is gay, Loki is nonbinary and has two fathers. Immigration concerns and ICE agents show up in this book, grounding the fantastical elements of the world and the plot. As with any YA novel, teens must save a frozen kingdom, and as annoying as Alex can be at times, he very much feels like a teenager that doesn't know how to handle the responsibilities that he was given. Tala is still learning herself, as are the other Bandersnatch kids; it's going to be fun to see how they all grow into their prophecies and become the adults they're meant to be.
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This story merges all fairytales into one to make the ultimate good verses evil story.

We follow the story of Tala and Alex, Tala has the ability to stop magic where Alex is the exiled king of a country currently under ice after being attacked 12 years ago by the snow queen.

We follow our two young hero’s along with the Cheshire cats Bander army as they attempt to defeat the Snow Queen, her shade, ice maiden and ogre army and reclaim the lost country at last. 

There are many twists and turns in the plot that give an enjoyable story. The beginning is very confusing as you try and figure out how all the fairy tales are intertwined but as the story progresses the truth becomes clear.

The ending we think we have is not the ending we get the epilogue changes everything leaving room open for the next books storyline. 

Overall, a good story with Filipino flare and magic galore.
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“Wicked As You Wish” is a quick-witted and fleet-footed romp through an alternate Earth in which every folk tale, fairy tale, myth, or legend you can think of is completely true… and it’s just as bizarre and fascinating as you’d expect it to be. Because who knew ICE agents would still be a huge thing in Arizona even when the refugees they’re hunting down are magical ones?

This book is definitely meant for the younger portion of YA readers. I’d even posit that this book would be a great read for middle-schoolers as well. The language is clean, there is no spice, there is a tiny bit of tension, and there is a whole lot about familial love (both biological and found) and friendship. There’s a lot of frenetic action scenes with narrow escapes, fascinating descriptions of different locations and creatures, and a whole lot of good humor. 

If you want to read something bubbly, irreverent, witty, sweet, diverse, whimsical, and get a little bit swept away with the story, then this book with give you that. And it will make you crave Filipino food hardcore. Trust me.
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'Wicked As You Wish' has such an interesting premise and had a lot of potential and whilst I was able to stay interested enough whilst reading, I didn't love it. There were a lot of elements that just did not work for me. 

There is SO much going on in this novel. The author has pulled elements from so many fairytales, stories, and legends, and whilst some of it is interesting, it is too much. It's overwhelming and because there are so many different references and 'mentions' of different stories it very quickly becomes confusing and not at all interesting. It was also dumped into the plot in big chunks rather than woven in and that was really disconcerting. I sort of wish that she had just picked one or two 'retellings' and stuck to them rather than trying to weave all of them together because it just didn't work. 

There is good rep in this, in a variety of ways which is good and it comes in the form of some of the most interesting characters. There are however a LOT of characters, like the world-building, it feels as though the author has tried to cram in too many different backgrounds and personalities and it just doesn't work. It makes it hard to stay invested in the plot or to form any real connection to any of the characters. And a lot of the information we get about these characters is just dropped on us in big exposition paragraphs. 

I enjoyed elements of this book (and the ending was surprising and managed to pull my interest back a bit) but I feel like it would have been a better book if it was more succinct and didn't have so many plot threads and characters going on. It really suffers from trying too much. 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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What I Liked:
The premise was good and the bare bones of the plot was great! When I narrow the book down to a list of the actual plot things that happened over the course of the book, I liked the story. The writing was also pretty spot on. There was never a moment where I thought the book was badly written.

The characters were hit or miss, but that could have just been because of how many there were. Generally, I really liked the main squad we follow though the book. A few of those characters I really, really liked and they never really let me down. I want to see more from them in coming books if I continue with the series (I haven't decided yet). There was also more diversity and representation that you don't always see in every book which was really nice. I think we need more of that and I love to see it.

What Disappointed Me:
The beginning of this book was tough for me to get through. The worldbuilding was just A LOT and the information felt almost constantly dumped on you in the beginning. That could have been okay if it had ended there, but I felt like it continued to happen only slightly less constantly in the rest of the book. I'm not saying I wish the world wasn't as detailed as it was, but it almost took away from the story to have that much of the book be explanations and history lessons rather than plot movement. Especially considering that I didn't hate the story itself. I wanted more of that.

Character development was the only other big flaw for me in this book. With the number of characters we meet over the course of this story, I would have liked to have seen more character development with the main group of characters throughout the book. A lot of the development seemed to be crammed into the end of the book after most of the info dumping was done. That sucked because I really liked reading those moments between characters.
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If you’ve read any other reviews of this book then mine is not going to come as much of a surprise. I will say this—points to the author for a very unique book, and for keeping everything in the plot straight. And I mean that sincerely. This book is a fairytale retelling taken up a LOT of notches. There are so many myths and fairytales and characters thrown into this book that it’s nearly impossible to keep it all straight. There’s fairytale elements like Snow White, gingerbread cottages, looking glasses, and rabbit holes, there’s some Russian folklore thrown in like Baba Yaga & Koschei, then there are real historical figures like Alice Liddell (the inspiration for Alice in Wonderland) and Prince Alexei Tsarevich (son of Nicholas II of Russia). I did really enjoy the Filipino cultural aspects that were thrown into the book, although I do wish there were translations for the Tagalog phrases as you were reading. Overall, I think this book just suffered from having way too many ideas all thrown into the pot, but I wasn’t bored while reading it.

Thank you to NetGalley & Sourcebooks Fire for this advanced reader copy. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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I received an e-arc of Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco from Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for an honest review.

Where do I even begin for this review of Wicked As You Wish? The world building, the cast of characters, the plot twists and storylines that play out. There was just so much of everything. The world is a complex blend and mix of fairytales, myths and legends from all over the world - from Arthur of Camelot and the Little Mermaid to legendary heroes and figures from Chinese and Japanese stories. Truly, Rin Chupeco is a master of writing a world that is as diverse as the world it is supposed to reflect - and it does as little plot lines and history of the world she creates reflects that of our real world - though with quite a bit of fantasy interwoven in to it. The characters themselves are reflective of this diverse world. My main criticism would just be that there is so much to make sense of that at times, the story felt overwhelming as I was trying to follow along and understand all the references that it would make. But for anyone who loves a rich and deep world-building, in a great adventure fantasy story, Wicked As You Wish should be added to your TBR now.
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I received an ARC of this book to read through NetGalley. All opinions are my own. Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco is the first book in the author's exciting new series A Hundred Names For Magic. I realize the target audience for this book is YA, but even though I am the age of the grandmothers in the book (or maybe not as many are immortal), I found this book to be so much fun to read. It balances humour, edge-of-your-seat adventures, love of family and friends, with nods to almost every fairy tale, folk tale, and fantasy classic that you can imagine. Tala Warnock is Makiling which means she can negate magic. Her family is charged with keeping the sole surviving member of the Avalon Royal Family Crown Prince Alexei Tsarevich, protected from those who would prefer there be no surviving members of the Royal Family. On the night she’s having her first date with her school's star basketball player Ryker Cadfael all heck breaks loose. The Firebird arrives for Alex, ogres, shades and ice maidens and ICE, all minions of the Snow Queen who wants both the Firebird and Alex. With the help of a motley group of teens, members of the Order of the Bandersnatch, Tala and Alex travel through a looking glass to Avalon in order to defeat the Snow Queen and free the country from the frost. I highly recommend this book and can’t wait to read the next one in the series. Publishing Date: October 1, 2021. #WickedAsYouWish #RinChupeco #YAFantasy #FantasySeries #YAFantasySeries #SourcebooksFire #NetGalley #FantasySeriesReader #bookstagram bookstagrammer
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The magical land of Avalon was completely frozen by the Snow Queen and its remaining citizens are now refugees. 

Tala is a spellbreaker who ends up on an adventure with Avalon's long lost prince as they attempt to free the land from the Snow Queen's grasp. 

Honestly, I had such high hopes for this story but I felt let down. I really struggled to get into this book. There were so many characters thrown at me and so many places and new terms. It was so overwhelming that I actually stopped reading for a while.

 It was really confusing and wasn't the best start to the book. Even know I can't fully remember all the characters and I have no idea what their physical descriptions are. 

I also feel like there was a lot of build up and not a great pay off at the end. Some parts of the plot just dragged while others were really rushed. 

I feel that the story would have felt more cohesive if not every conceivable fairy tale was mentioned in this book. Some of them should have been held back for the sequel as it added little to the plot. 

The premise was really interesting but it just didn't live up to my expectations  

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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There was just too much going on--too many characters, too many POVS, too many worldbuilding details that somehow still left gaps--for me to really get into the world of the story.

Which is a shame, because the plotlines were really interesting and the intrigue built up to the point where I thought I had *finally* figured everything out....only to discover a reveal that completely threw everything into a new perspective. It also functions on a level of social and political commentary that is especially apt right now.

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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4 stars. Another great one from Rin Chupeco! Like all her other books, there are about a million characters and worldbuilding details to remember, but once you get those down, it's awesome.

The Premise: AU 21st century has a country called Avalon, where all the fairytales are true. Twelve years ago, Avalon was frozen by the Snow Queen, creating tons of magical refugees. Spellbreaker Tala and her best friend the Prince of Avalon meet up with a decidedly not-ragtag group of teens to unfreeze the country.

The Characters: 
	- Tala, the main POV character, is a Filipino girl whose parents worked for the Avalonian government. She has the power to stop magic. She's fine, but definitely has potential. 
	- Alex is the lost prince of Avalon. He's whiny and has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. For some reason, Tala really cares about him.  Also has a pet firebird. 
	- Zoe is the leader of the group sent to protect Alex. She has the power to summon lightning, and a rivalry with fellow student Cole.
	- Cole is not officially part of the gang, but he sneaks along and grows on them. A classic, brooding, snarky, intelligent guy with a dark past and some secrets. Not overly unique.
	- Loki Sun-Wagner is a nonbinary park ranger, exactly as cool as they sound. Ken Inoue has swords. West was not raised in modern society and is therefore hilarious. These three are super close, but also I got them mixed up. 

What I liked:
	- This was her first book and after success with "more marketable" books this one is finally being published!
	- The vibes! Were great! My best comp is the Kane Chronicles—magic in the modern world, parents being important, newbies in the presence of more experienced team. 
	- Everyone knows a realistic amount of people, aka lots of them. Too many characters to keep track of without a little note, but it was cool to meet so many people.  
	- Boy meets girl, boy is immediately revealed to be gay. Nice little subversion there. 

What I didn't like:
	- Way too many characters
	- Super complex worldbuilding—based on our world, but different enough to be confusing
Alex is so so annoying
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I was just honestly really confused with what was going on with this book.  The world building was all over the place, and I didn't cheer for any of the characters as I didn't really care for any of them.  They were really two-dimensional and didn't have any depth to them.  I really wanted to love this book as I really do enjoy the author and what she does for our community, but this was just written too young for me I think.  I can read younger YA and middle grade and enjoy it, but something about this one wasn't clicking for me.
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Rin Chupeco is one of these authors I've been following on Twitter for ages without ever having read any of their novels, so I knew I needed to rectify that when the opportunity presented itself. 
And while I loved the premise of the book, the execution left something to be desired for me. I don't know if it's my tired brain or the writing, but I was just supremely confused while reading Wicked As You Wish. There is so much happening in such a short amount of time and while some things are explained in excruciating detail, others are written as if the reader should know what is meant (which made me wonder whether there was a prequel to this?). I think that Chupeco had some really great ideas for how to intertwine our modern technology with this fairytale-esque narrative but I could have done with a bit more explanation and attention to detail Still, I loved the very diverse and relatable cast of characters and I did have fun reading this once I decided to just accept that I'd be confused at some parts.
 Definitely would try another Chupeco title in the future!
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DNF - 14% 

This book is like a crazy history lesson and then a punch of fairytales thrown in. I’m so confused. I’m not sure if because I’m lost or because of the actual book but I feel like I was thrown into final exams but they gave me the cliff notes version of all my classes. There is so much happening I think my brain overloaded. Like Royal States and real world locations are mentioned then Wonderland, Snow Queen, Avalon, Neverland, Rapunzel and other fairytales are dropped in. I love a good spin on fairytales but why so many? Like the author had so many ideas and threw them all into one book. Flat characters as well. There are way too many other books I have to read so I’m going to pass on this one. 

*Received via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
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Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review!

This was a really delightful book that balanced lightheartedness with more serious subject matter really well! I loved the chapter titles, they were all really fun and the chapter event they referred to was always not quite what you were expecting. The magic system was also really cool. I loved that all these fairytales and myths from all over the world were not only all true, but that they also existed side by side without any contradictions or tensions between traditions. 

I really enjoyed how free the chapters were with perspective shifts. It was great to just jump to whoever's POV was most suitable for whatever was happening in a particular chapter, instead of being tied down to a few specific characters. All of the characters were really great too! I especially liked that there were older characters (i.e. parents, other old relatives, etc.) very heavily involved in the narrative; that was a nice change to a lot of YA where it's almost like parents don't exist. I'm really looking forward to finding out how all of the teenage characters grow and develop in the next books.

The commentary in this book on ICE and how it operates in America was so topical and really hard-hitting. I hope people who read this book and maybe aren't fully aware of the realities of what these systems perpetuate, have their eyes opened to the atrocities being committed every day against refugees.

The only thing that pulled me out of the story a bit at times was my confusion about why the main character Tala didn't know certain things about Avalon and its history, as well as certain aspects of the general magical history of the world. She's grown up in a magical family so she's not an outsider, and yet she's somehow acting as a stand-in for the reader. I find it hard to believe, given her general personality, that she wouldn't have asked questions or tried to find out more about some of the things she seems woefully uninformed about during the course of the story. It felt to me that this was purely a narrative device to allow certain things to be explained to the reader without info dumping, but it didn't work very well for me. Eventually I was able to suspend my disbelief about this and concentrate on the story, but it took a while to get to that point.

Otherwise this was a really fun book, and I'm excited for the sequel!
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I was provided an e-arc of this book via Netgalley, though all thoughts and opinions are my own. [This review may contain spoilers.]

Wicked as You Wish is an alternate history, contemporary fantasy YA novel following a group of characters as they try to claim back a kingdom. There's a vast array of characters, different plot threads, curses and magic and sword-wielding heroines. It kind of felt like classic young adult fantasy, but with a twist.

Firstly, I really enjoyed this world. It was cool to see our own modern-day tech mixed in with all sorts of fairytales and myths and fantastical creatures. There was magic mixed in with technology, and kingdoms coinciding with modern day countries. But all the complexities of this world started to get a little confusing at times, and it felt as if the author was trying to add in every representative of every fantastical myth into a story which wasn't all that long. Sometimes, it did get a bit overwhelming to keep track of, but after a while I was able to put it past me and enjoy the story. 

Now onto the characters. Our main character was Tala, a Makiling, which means that her power is negating magic - pretty cool. The only issue that I had with her was that she didn't exactly feel like a main character. It almost felt as if she blended into the background while the other, more fleshed out, characters took the spotlight. Tala, being a newbie to this adventure, served more as someone who provided a reason for there to be explanations for the different things that were happening, rather than a character who made her own decisions. However, we did sort of see her come into her own at the very end of the novel which was really interesting to see. As for the secondary characters, I do wish they'd been developed more, though I did enjoy several character interactions. Characters like Ken, West, Loki, Zoe and Nya were definitely my faves. But then again, the fact that there were so many characters felt kind of unnecessary and confusing. 

The writing was easy to understand and simplistic, kind of on the younger end of Young Adult, which was refreshing. 

Overall, I give this book a 3 out of 5 stars because the story kept me entertained throughout. I would totally recommend this for fans of The School for Good and Evil series, as it kind of gave off the same sort of vibes.
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